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The Sisters Brothers Paperback – 5 Jan 2012

392 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books (5 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847083196
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847083197
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (392 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'The Sisters Brothers confirms deWitt as one of the most talented young writers around' --Sunday Times

'Superb ... deWitt has ensured another unforgettable pair their place in fictive lore' --Sunday Telegraph

'so good, so funny and so sad' --Irish Times

`A stylistically impressive, darkly comic reworking of the traditional western' --Metro

'A witty noir Don Quixote ... A blackly comic fable about emptiness, lonliness and the hollow lure of gold'
--Financial Times

'gripping and heart-wrenching' --Guardian

`Wonderfully funny and original' --Spectator

'The Sisters Brothers is intermittently moving, consistently very funny, and above all, original' --New Statesman

'A powerfully realized work ... the dialogue is sharp as a whip' --Times Literary Supplement

'A masterclass on the twists of the mind and heart'
--Scotsman

'A stunningly accomplished book ... deWitt is on his way to greatness' --Dazed & Confused

`Bursting with vitality and driven along by a terrific pulpy energy' --Herald

'A lyrical homage to the classic western ... this has the makings of a cult outrider' --Time Out

'deWitt's book is inventive and has a smart line in dark humour' --Observer

`Extremely well written and very funny' --Big Issue

About the Author

Patrick deWitt's first novel Ablutions was a huge critical success. Born in British Columbia, he has also lived in California, Washington, and Oregon, where he currently resides with his wife and son.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

109 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Lovely Treez TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
I first heard about The Sisters Brothers when it recently made it onto the Man Booker Longlist - perversely enough, it was all the mutterings about it not being a suitable nominee plus some irresistible cover lust which made me even keener to read it.

Firstly, a word of warning...this is not a pretty novel, it's set back in the 1850s during the California Gold Rush when men were men and horses didn't have whisperers. There are scenes of cruelty, to both animals and humans, so best to move on if this would detract from your reading enjoyment.

It is 1851, the Californian Gold Rush is in full swing and our narrator, Eli Sisters, hired killer, is accompanying his older brother Charlie on an eventful journey from Oregon to Sacramento, to track down and kill one Hermann Kermit Warm. Their quest has an epic feel to it as they encounter a range of wild and wonderful characters en route, think Don Quixote meets the Coen and Blues Brothers with a dash of Cormac Mc Carthy thrown in for good measure. Yet, it doesn't seem derivative and ends up being a really fresh, original piece of work - defying categorisation.

Eli is a psychopath with a (slight) conscience and therein lies the conflict between the brothers. Even as he relates their latest killing in his usual deadpan tone, you know his heart is no longer in it and he longs for a different life, even suggesting opening a store - Charlie is not particularly open to the idea... Their story is compelling but unsettling, dark but humorous and so cinematic, you can just visualise their adventures rolling onto the big screen.

A very special novel which will entertain a wide range of readers including those biblio-butterflies who like a change of genre every now and then.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Quicksilver TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
It can be hard reading (and then reviewing) a highly acclaimed book, particularly if you find your own opinion of it contrary to everybody else's. I had wanted to read 'The Sisters Brothers' since before it was longlisted for the Booker prize; its subsequent acclaim had me anticipating something special. Whilst in no way a bad book, I found 'TSB' to be a pedestrian tale. A tale well told, but one that failed to deliver on its promise.

The novel is narrated by Eli Sisters, one half of the notorious Sisters Brothers, murderous enforcers for an unseen crime baron called 'The Commodore'. Eli and Charlie are travelling to California, to track down Herman Warm. Warm has irritated their employer, and Eli and Charlie have been dispatched to ensure he doesn't do it again.

The period and setting are well constructed. deWitt conveys the openness of the wild west well, but what really stands out is the sense of lawlessness. Unlike most depictions of the Gold Rush era deWitt's contains no glamour; it is survival of the fittest. The strongest takes what it wants from the weak, and the weak die. The motto of almost everybody in the book is 'Get rich or die tryin'.

The novel's characters, particularly Eli, are well drawn. Charlie is a ruthless killer, Eli is on the surface a brute; violent and quick to anger, but he has another side. Eli is a dangerous man, but he is also a thinker, and he does not like what he has become. The novel explores his inner turmoil as he tries to transcend his circumstances and lead a better life. Although the style, settings and characters are entirely different, I found 'TSB' curiously reminiscent of 'Great Expectations'.

The story essentially follows Eli's pitiful attempts to change.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By iandliz on 25 April 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the story of Charlie and Eli Sisters, hired heavyweights and assassins in the height of the 1850s Gold Rush they are as mean and rough as they come. The book begins when they are sent on a mission to kill one Hermann Kermit Warm who has offended their boss, the Commodore. As they journey in search of Warm our narrator, Eli Sisters, begins to dream of a different way of life. Tired of killing he wants to settle down with a nice girl, he has become conscious of his figure and wants to lose weight, he's discovered tooth cream and he is uncommonly fond of his slow and sickly horse. Charlie, on the other hand, is as ruthless as ever and is perfectly happy to carry on with the killings.

The overall theme is about Eli Sisters wanting to go straight. But first he needs to tie up his loose ends, which involves a few more killings before he can sleep easy in his bed. It is really a dark comedy, which addresses the irony of such bad men having a softer side to them. The brothers have lots of adventures on the way and meet a cast of quirky characters giving a light element in terms of humour, with the brothers bickering continually, combined with some ridiculously horrific scenes such as the removal of the horse's eye, some brutal killings and the painful effects of a chemical used to show up gold on riverbeds.

If you can handle dark humour then this is a very entertaining read, and you can't help liking the brothers despite their ruthlessness. The ending is quite sweet really and marks a turning point in their lives. I like that this was shortlisted for the Booker prize, I think it stands out as an unusual and deceptively complex read.
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